Types of book binding

There’s more than one way to cook an egg bind a book.
Here are some of the more common book binding options we offer.


Perfect binding

Standard perfect binding is the simplest form of binding books. Perfect binding gives a glued spine rather than stitched. In perfect binding all the pages are brought together, and the spines are sliced off, roughened and glued directly to the cover. It should be noted that the pages do not lie flat.

Rather than perfect binding, for softback books we recommend the stronger alternatives – PUR or burst binding – see below.

PUR perfect binding

PUR is a similar to standard perfect binding, but stronger. It has better adhesion and PUR-bound books can lie reasonably flat when open. The page pull strength of a PUR-bound book is twice that of a standard perfect-bound book. PUR binding can be used in softback or case binding (see below).

Burst binding

Our recommended option for paperback (softback) books, burst binding is similar in appearance to perfect binding. However it will provide generally twice the strength of a perfect bound book.

The process is similar to perfect binding, however instead of trimming off the section spines, notches or perforations are cut into the spines of each section. Keeping the sections improves strength. The glue then penetrates into the spine.

Case binding

Case binding is commonly referred to as hardcover or hardback.

Case-bound books can have a rounded or flat spine. Case bound books can be printed on the hard case, or can be covered in traditional book cloth. Case bound books may also have dust covers or jackets.

Case-bound books often looks good with head and tail bands – small fabric ends that appear at the top and botton of the book block near the spine. These are just for looks, they serve no functional purpose.

There are several methods to create case-bound books; the most common two are explained below:

Smyth-sewn case binding

Smyth-sewn case binding is widely regarded as the best book binding method available. This time-proven method produces a flexible sewn spine which allows the book to lay flat, or nearly flat, when opened. Sewing also offers strength. Because of this, smyth-sewn binding is commonly used for artbooks, coffee table books, etc.

Usually, pages must be printed in 16-page sections, which means your book’s page count must be a multiple of 16.

PUR Case Binding

Lower priced alternative to traditional case binding, utilising the PUR glue binding method detailed above, but in a hard case. PUR Case Binding does not lie quite as flat as smyth-sewn binding, however it can an attractive option due to price, quality and reduced turnaround time.


Choosing the right binding method for your book depends on factors such as size, budget, print run and look and feel. We are happy to advise the right solution for you.

For a free book printing quote, simply complete the enquiry form on this page, or call us now on 0191 603 1660

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